‘The heart and soul of ECHO’
ECHO PLUS Inc. CEO Dan Youngblut set the tone at Tuesday night’s annual meeting at the Estherville Elks Lodge.
“I want to talk about the heart and soul of ECHO,” Youngblut said. And that heart and soul is people.
Youngblut said the ECHO PLUS staff sees their consumers as their equals. “We try to listen hard and work with family members,” he said.
Youngblut said staff has gone above and beyond by helping consumers transition into other programs. “Sometimes you’ve got to do what you have to do to get things done,” he said.
ECHO PLUS even offers no-interest loans to its clients, a program that Youngblut said reflects the organization’s Christian values.
Other activities include birthday celebrations, dances, fishing trips, bowling league, rock ‘n roll concerts and recently a Twins game. A highlight for a number of consumers would the the Special Olympics in which the consumers get to meet people “that are wonderful to them,” according to Youngblut.
“We all try to make people’s lives just a little better,” said Youngblut. “That is kind of the heart and soul of ECHO. We’re made up of a lot of people who just really care about people.”
Board Secretary Mart Hart presented the Emmet County Service Award to Sue Nelson, chairperson, and Mary Ann Hoffmeyer, secretary/treasurer, of Emmet County Community Foundation.
The Dickinson County Service Award went to Lakes Area Land Trust represented by Pam Jordan, board president. Lakes Area Land Trust provides affordable housing opportunities and remodeled the apartment of ECHO PLUS consumer Todd Ellis to meet his needs.
The Emmet County Partners in Production Award went to Mark and Heather Howell, founders of Adore Candles, who helped set up Care Candles, a product line unique to ECHO PLUS.
The other Partners in Production Award for Dickinson County went to Terry and Lisa Moeller.
The publicity award went to John and Michelle Adams of the Dickinson County Lakes News Shopper. Accepting the award was Mary Adams, John’s mother and wife of Lakes New Shopper founder John Adams.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Kim Anderson and Elanor Davis for the dedicated countless hours of service they have devoted to Thrifty’s.
Employee service awards went to Deb Paxton and Alana Blair, 20 years; Jenny Schultz, 10 years and Nancy Brewer and Deb Kyle, five years.